FLOYDS KNOBS —
With the losses of News and Tribune Player of the Year Varun Alse, top scorer Zach Lewis and goalkeeper Travis Foster from last year’s Class 2A sectional championship squad, the Floyd Central boys’ soccer team will be looking for players to step up as key contributors and as leaders during the upcoming season.
Junior goalkeeper Jack Parker may fill both of those roles.
Floyd’s likely 2014 starting goalkeeper spent last Tuesday’s practice at Highland Hills Middle School in constant communication with his intersquad defense.
“Good, Landon!” he shouted with his booming voice.
“I’m here if you need me.”
“Push up, push up.”
Senior captain Parker Davidenkoff likes the way the defense is jelling with the talkative Parker in the back.
“He’s a little bit annoying,” Davidenkoff joked, “but he does a good job so I forgive him. Jack’s a good goalie. Jack stepped in last year when Travis was hurt and he did a really nice job.”
Second-year coach Tim Rice said he loves Parker’s communication skills as the team’s keeper.
“He’s definitely chatty,” Rice said. “Jack’s got a good sense of the game. We’ve got new guys in the back, so we need to make sure they understand what Jack’s saying and [they work] together.”
“Communication is probably the most important thing,” Parker surmised. “Without communication, things fall apart. If you’re good at communicating, you don’t have to make as many saves.”
Parker began playing keeper five years ago and has some varsity experience. The position has become a family tradition. His cousin, junior Sean Weidman, plays in goal at Indiana University.
“I watched him play and I love it,” Parker recalled. “It gives you a chance to be a leader and step up and gives you a good opportunity to ... play a key role on the team.”
Parker was very busy during the 90-minute session. The Highlanders used a short field by design.
“In the summer, we use it to help their touch and help their speed of play,” Rice explained. “We use smaller spaces and more people so they have to make quick decisions. Hopefully when they get into a full-sized game, the game actually slows down a bit.”
“It makes us have a better touch and focus on our passing and not just dribble around,” Davidenkoff said. “Whenever we have a bigger space, we’ll feel like we have more time and it will be easier for us.”
With the exception of this week’s moratorium, the Highlanders have practiced a couple days each week this summer with an average of 25-35 players at each session. Rice said his second season as head coach has been smoother than his first.
Floyd voted seniors Tyler Menne, who is returning from a broken shoulder suffered in last season’s 1-0 loss to Evansville Memorial in the regional championship game, along with Aaron Brockman and Davidenkoff to captain the 2014 squad.
“I feel like we have the potential [to be good leaders],” Davidenkoff said of the trio. “As the season goes on, we’ll get better at it.”
“We [lost] a couple key seniors, but we have a lot of guys who will step up,” Parker added. “I think we’ll be better off this year as an older, mature team.”
SUMMER HANGOUT SERIES
This summer, the News and Tribune sports department is running a new series called “Summer Hangout.” The sports staff will be visiting several area high school athletic programs to check in on the progress they are making this summer.